Me: Boone, any idea what that is?
Boone: Helios Base. Power Plant. NCR liberated it from the Brotherhood of Steel a while back.
Me: I didn't think there were any power plants around here besides Hoover Dam.
Boone: Oh, there are. Hoover Damn is the only one that works worth a damn.
Me: ... was that a joke?
Boone: Am I in the habit of telling jokes?
We get stopped by NCR troops on the way to the front door. Seems they don't trust just anyone to walk into their secure facilities. I decide against pointing out that this doesn't seem to have been a problem before now but do manage to talk my way in after pointing out that the mirrors on their building seemed to be improperly aligned.
Thank you 50 ranks in SCIENCE!
They send me in to talk to their science expert who, I am told, is an idiot who wears sunglasses all the time. If Boone takes offense at this, he says nothing.
Fantastic: Oooooh. What does this button do?
Me: You must be the idiot.
Fantastic: Hey, man. I got this great job without knowing nothing, so tell me... who is the idiot? The idiot? Or the idiot who hired the idiot?
Me: You don't know anything about science, do you?
Fantastic: Hey! I have a theoretical degree in physics.
Me: Theoretical in that it doesn't exist?
Fantastic: Hey, yeah! Pretty clever, huh?
Me: Sometimes... sometimes I really hate having a 9 Intelligence.
Ignacio Rivas: I noticed you talking to the idiot.
Me: And you are the idiot's assistant?
Ignacio Rivas: You seem pretty smart.
Me: Smart enough to know that you're smarter than him and should have gotten this place up and running by now. Even with him randomly flipping switches on the old intercom system instead of playing with the power grid.
Ignacio Rivas: Okay, you got me. I'm secretly part of the Followers of the Apocalypse - a group that seeks to prevent mankind from repeating the mistakes of yesterday.
Me: Getting this power plant up and running would be a mistake?
Ignacio Rivas: Oh, the plant is fine. It's the doomsday weapon in the tower that's the problem. If they get the power working here, there's a chance the NCR might discover the weapon. I'm here making sure that Captain Trips over there doesn't come close to accidentally doing something with the power. Not that it's been much of a challenge.
Me: Yeah, but the troops are getting suspicious and I don't think that will work for much longer.
Ignacio Rivas: True. And sending power to the right regions would be a good thing. But I will leave the choice in your hands. You are clearly an agent of destiny.
Me: The only one who will do anything, in other words.
Ignacio Rivas: Basically.
Getting to the mirror controls proved difficult. Between the traps around one station and the guard dogs around the other, I wound up patching myself up and using a precious Stealth Boy invisibility module to sneak in and out without rousing the guards. Then came the real challenge - storming the building with the main mainframe computer to reactivate the power plant. The problem being that before being run away from the HELIOS base, The Brotherhood of Steel apparently reactivated the old security system. And while most of my weapons were good for blowing apart humans, robots were another thing entirely.
I left Boone behind and opted for a stealthy approach. It was at this point that I learned something very important - robots are pretty good at figuring out where you are - even invisible - if you stand in one place chucking dynamite at them. I wound up jumping from a scaffold, landing two floors below and making a run for what I thought was the way out.
Bad news - a dead end. A room with a safe. In desperation I picked the lock on the safe. Figured I might as well die as I'd lived... hiding and taking everything of dubious value that wasn't nailed down. And that was when I found it... EM Pulse Grenades.
The robots didn't give me much trouble after that. And my SCIENCE! skills were enough to get the mainframe up and running, rerouting the power to the NCR targets. Somehow, I knew this improved my reputation with the NCR. And all things considered Ignacio Rivas was content with this. He'd suggested a few other places that needed the power but agreed that it was probably best not to rouse the NCR's suspicions. Definitely the most reasonable cultist I've ever met.
As Boone and I headed northward, we stumbled across an ambush. Biker gang hiding behind a billboard, ready to swarm the road. They didn't suspect that someone might be traveling just off of it, coming up behind them. Suddenly, as we were setting our shots up...
NCR Ranger: HOWDY!
Me: GAH! *fires shot into billboard, missing the bikers*
Bikers: Hey! It's that courier do-gooder! Get him!
Me: Well, that's just great! Because I need help now! Not that I needed it before you showed up and...
Me: Okay! Fine! We've got three bikers over there and... hey, where did they go?
Boone: It's okay. I've got this. *BLAM*
Me: Whew! Hey... where did the Ranger go?
Boone: Over there... running away into the dry lake.
Me: I hate the NCR!
Me: Well, I don't mean YOU...